Genesis 50

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1 Then Joseph 1fell on his father's face and wept over him and kissed him.
2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to 2embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel.
3 Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians 3wept for him seventy days.
4 And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, 4"If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,
5 My father made me swear, saying, 'I am about to die: in my tomb 5that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.' Now therefore, let me please go up and bury my father. Then I will return."
6 And Pharaoh answered, "Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear."
7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,
8 as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father's household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left 6in the land of Goshen.
9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company.
10 When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, 7they lamented there with a very great and grievous lamentation, and he 8made a mourning for his father seven days.
11 When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, "This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians." Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim;[a] it is beyond the Jordan.
12 Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them,
13 for 9his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, which Abraham 10bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place.
14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

God's Good Purposes

15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him."
16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father gave this command before he died,
17 'Say to Joseph, Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.' And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of 11the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
18 His brothers also came and 12fell down before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants."
19 But Joseph said to them, "Do not fear, for 13am I in the place of God?
20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but 14God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people[b] should be kept alive, as they are today.
21 So do not fear; 15I will provide for you and your little ones." Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

The Death of Joseph

22 So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father's house. Joseph lived 110 years.
23 And Joseph saw Ephraim's children 16of the third generation. The 17children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were 18counted as Joseph's own.[c]
24 And Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die, but 19God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land 20that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob."
25 Then 21Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here."
26 So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They 22embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

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Genesis 50 Commentary

Chapter 50

The mourning for Jacob. (1-6) His funeral. (7-14) Joseph's brethren crave his pardon, He comforts them. (15-21) Joseph's direction concerning his bones, His death. (22-26)

Verses 1-6 Though pious relatives and friends have lived to a good old age, and we are confident they are gone to glory, yet we may regret our own loss, and pay respect to their memory by lamenting them. Grace does not destroy, but it purifies, moderates, and regulates natural affection. The departed soul is out of the reach of any tokens of our affection; but it is proper to show respect to the body, of which we look for a glorious and joyful resurrection, whatever may become of its remains in this world. Thus Joseph showed his faith in God, and love to his father. He ordered the body to be embalmed, or wrapped up with spices, to preserve it. See how vile our bodies are, when the soul has forsaken them; they will in a very little time become noisome, and offensive.

Verses 7-14 Jacob's body was attended, not only by his own family, but by the great men of Egypt. Now that they were better acquainted with the Hebrews, they began to respect them. Professors of religion should endeavour by wisdom and love to remove the prejudices many have against them. Standers-by took notice of it as a grievous mourning. The death of good men is a loss to any place, and ought to be greatly lamented.

Verses 15-21 Various motives might cause the sons of Jacob to continue in Egypt, notwithstanding the prophetic vision Abraham had of their bondage there. Judging of Joseph from the general temper of human nature, they thought he would now avenge himself on those who hated and injured him without cause. Not being able to resist, or to flee away, they attempted to soften him by humbling themselves. They pleaded with him as the servants of Jacob's God. Joseph was much affected at seeing this complete fulfilment of his dreams. He directs them not to fear him, but to fear God; to humble themselves before the Lord, and to seek the Divine forgiveness. He assures them of his own kindness to them. See what an excellent spirit Joseph was of, and learn of him to render good for evil. He comforted them, and, to banish all their fears, he spake kindly to them. Broken spirits must be bound up and encouraged. Those we love and forgive, we must not only do well for, but speak kindly to.

Verses 22-26 Joseph having honoured his father, his days were long in the land, which, for the present, God had given him. When he saw his death approaching, he comforted his brethren with the assurance of their return to Canaan in due time. We must comfort others with the same comforts with which we have been comforted of God, and encourage them to rest on the promises which are our support. For a confession of his own faith, and a confirmation of theirs, he charges them to keep his remains unburied till that glorious day, when they should be settled in the land of promise. Thus Joseph, by faith in the doctrine of the resurrection, and the promise of Canaan, gave commandment concerning his bones. This would keep up their expectation of a speedy departure from Egypt, and keep Canaan continually in their minds. This would also attach Joseph's posterity to their brethren. The death, as well as the life of this eminent saint, was truly excellent; both furnish us with strong encouragement to persevere in the service of God. How happy to set our early in the heavenly race, to continue stedfastly, and to finish the course with joy! This Joseph did, this we also may do. Even when the pains of death are upon us, if we have trusted in Him upon whom the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles depended, we need not fear to say, "My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."

Cross References 22

  • 1. Genesis 46:4
  • 2. ver. 26; [2 Chronicles 16:14; Mark 16:1; Luke 23:56; John 19:39, 40]
  • 3. [ver. 10; Numbers 20:29; Deuteronomy 34:8; 1 Samuel 31:13; Job 2:13]
  • 4. Genesis 47:29; See Genesis 33:15
  • 5. 2 Chronicles 16:14; Isaiah 22:16; Matthew 27:60
  • 6. See Genesis 45:10
  • 7. [2 Samuel 1:17; Acts 8:2]
  • 8. [ver. 3]
  • 9. Genesis 49:29, 30; [Acts 7:16]
  • 10. Genesis 23:16
  • 11. Genesis 49:25
  • 12. [Genesis 37:7, 10]
  • 13. Genesis 30:2; [2 Kings 5:7]
  • 14. Genesis 45:5, 7
  • 15. Genesis 45:11; Genesis 47:12
  • 16. [Job 42:16; Psalms 128:6]
  • 17. Numbers 32:39; 1 Chronicles 7:14, 15
  • 18. [Genesis 30:3]
  • 19. Genesis 15:14; Genesis 46:4; Genesis 48:21; Exodus 3:16, 17; [Hebrews 11:22]
  • 20. Genesis 15:18; Genesis 26:3; Genesis 28:13; Genesis 35:12; Genesis 46:4
  • 21. Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32
  • 22. See ver. 2

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Abel-mizraim means mourning (or meadow) of Egypt
  • [b]. Or a numerous people
  • [c]. Hebrew were born on Joseph's knees

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a short account of what happened from the death of Jacob to the death of Joseph, and is chiefly concerned with the funeral of Jacob; it first gives an account how Joseph was affected with his father's death, of his orders to the physicians to embalm him, and of the time of their embalming him, and of the Egyptians mourning for him, Ge 50:1-3, next of his request to Pharaoh to give him leave to go and bury his father in Canaan, and his grant of it, Ge 50:4-6 and then of the grand funeral procession thither, the mourning made for Jacob, and his interment according to his orders, Ge 50:7-13 upon the return of Joseph and his brethren to Egypt, they fearing his resentment of their former usage of him, entreat him to forgive them; which they said they did at the direction of their father, to which Joseph readily agreed, and comforted them, and spoke kindly to them, and bid them not fear any hurt from him, for whatever were their intention, God meant it, and had overruled it for good, Ge 50:14-21 and the chapter is concluded with an account of Joseph's age and death, and of his posterity he saw before his death, and of the charge he gave to his brethren to carry his bones with them, when they should depart from Egypt, Ge 50:22-26.

Genesis 50 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.